The first time I heard about Second Life, I didn’t get too excited about it. I’m not a web-game addict, I’ve never played Sims and I have almost no free-time. But I decided to give it a try. And guess what, I discovered that I could easily quit my job and start a business within this new world. Moreover, I could have my dream headquarters and I could start working in any field. So I could be a Dancer, a Model, a Fashion Designer or even a Land Baron.
Working in Second Life is “the same as working in London and sending money home to pay the rent for your spouse,” According to Investors, some entrepreneurs have even claimed to have made hundreds of thousands of dollars —in at least one case, $1 million from their Second Life exploits.
So I might have a chance. And since I’ve always liked fashion, why not follow Jennifer Grinnell‘s example, a Michigan furniture delivery dispatcher who turned fashion designer in Second Life. Now Second Life is her primary source of income, and her avatar – Janie Marlowe, claims to earn more than four times her previous salary.
But the quest for money didn’t only grab my attention. Investor’s too. When you have consumers spending around $50 – $60 a week within a virtual environment, you start smelling new business opportunities. A 16 virtual acres island costs $1,675, plus $295 per month for its maintenance. So don’t you dare thinking that IBM is in Second World only for fun, but to set up a virtual store for its electronics retailer Circuit City. Toyota sells its virtual cars for $1 or $2 each, while Dell is promoting its Dell SP700, a $4,000 computer designed for gaming. Meanwhile, Amazon’s engineers are apparently working on building a bridge between Amazon and Second Life (Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is an investor in Linden Lab, which created Second Life). And the list goes on…
One of Toyota’s cars in Second Life
Second Life might be the cost-effective option to refresh an old-fashioned brand strategy, to render younger the dusty products or just to maintain the link to the customers. Moreover, it can be a lounge where customers, products, business partners, employees can be brought together. Imagine a conference in Second World, a presentation of the latest trends within an industry or a fancy partner’s lunch, accompanied by some virtual geishas. Closing a business is definitely becoming a more charming task and not to mention cheaper.
Many Second Life businesses advertise in the Metaverse Messenger, Kristan Hall’s weekly newspaper. Here, avatar Katt Kongo holds a photo of her human, Kristan Hall. Image: Courtesy of Kristan Hall